Zoning Handbook

Front setback and build-to regulations are intended to control the relationship of buildings to street lot lines. Front setbacks and build-to lines regulate the distance between a building and a front lot line. A lot may have more than one street lot line, and therefore more than one front setback.

When a zone has a front setback requirement, all buildings and structures must be set back from the entire length of all street lot lines, except as provided in Subtitle B § 317.

Front Setback
Front Setback

Front setbacks shall be regulated in one of three ways:

  • By a single setback distance measurement cited for a zone which shall be applicable to all buildings and structures in the zone;
  • By a setback range cited for a zone, within which all buildings and structures in the zone must be set back from a street lot line; or
  • By an “existing range of blockface” cited for a zone; buildings and structures in the zone must be set back between from the street lot line by at least as much as the existing building on the blockface closest to the street, and no more than the existing building on the blockface furthest from the street. 

Rules of Measurement for Front Setbacks for Residential House (R) Zones

A proposed building façade or structure facing a street lot line shall be located a distance:

  • Not closer to the street than the point of the building façade closest to the street, based on all the buildings located along the blockface; and
  • Not further back from the same street than the building façade furthest from the street, based on all the buildings located along the blockface; and
  • The building façade of an interior lot attached building shall not be further forward or further back than the building façade of one of the immediately adjoining buildings.

A building façade shall be the façade of a building exclusive of the projections permitted through Subtitle B § 333.

If a lot has more than one street lot line, the owner of the lot may choose the street lot line that shall determine the application of any front setback requirement.

Front Build-to Lines

When a zone has a front build-to requirement, the front façade of all buildings and structures must directly abut the build-to line.


For more information on the following topics, please see the corresponding referenced sections: